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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Is formation of Jap godsend opportunity for Mudavadi?

A statement attributed to Lugari MP Ayub Savula to the effect that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have once again betrayed Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi by forming JAP without consulting him has been dismissed as alarmist and lacking foundation. In a sensational outburst, Savula told Musalia to abandon Jubilee because he has once gain been left out of their political matrix.
However, Mudavadi’s private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi says he does not see the Amani leader’s lost stake in the formation of JAP because Jubilee coalition that is to be dissolved to form the single party is a partnership of TNA and URP. “Savula must have been addressing another issue not Mudavadi’s stake in Jubilee because there is none. The MP may have been worried about the post-election cooperation agreement which in reality will not be affected because Jubilee coalition is unlikely to dissolve soon. That action could mean a general election which I doubt Jubilee contemplates for now,” said Kabatesi
He explained that the perceptions of Mudavadi joining JAP, not being consulted or being betrayed in the formation of JAB are misplaced. “In fact, JAP formation is godsend to Mudavadi. He is now freed of negative associations and can now chart positive engagement through Amani National Congress movement. Such sentiments that Mudavadi has lost again arise out of misconception and confusion fueled by hangovers of election propaganda that UDF is an appendage of Jubilee. We have three distinct coalitions in the country – Amani, Jubilee and Cord. UDF and Amani are led by Mudavadi. It cannot be legally possible for a coalition to belong to another; neither can a member party of one coalition double up in another coalition,” he explained.
Kabatesi said though UDF has a political post-election cooperation agreement with Jubilee coalition on parliamentary affairs, the agreement does not make UDF legally a member of the Jubilee coalition or an affiliate party. “Those who claim UDF is a stranger in Jubilee coalition are legally correct but politically na├»ve,” Kabatesi said.
It is notable that unlike in Cord where ODM shares its political fund money with its coalition partners and affiliates, UDF, New Ford Kenya (NFK) and Kanu who form Amani Coalition and have separate agreements with Jubilee don’t receive money from the political parties’ fund that goes to TNA or URP. Even with the agreement in place, UDF and NFK MPs have grumbled that there is lack of consultation and have elected to act independently depending on an issue at hand in Parliament. 
Furthermore, independent bodies such as the Republican Institute have carried out studies that reveal the cooperation agreement remains contentious with UDF members. This revelation has been debated internally with majority supporters feeling short-changed because their expectations on a share of government have not been met. A rebellion was brewed in the party ending at the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal when the idea of abrogating the agreements was introduced. It is understood the URP wing influenced the rebellion fearing its scheme to render the party moribund would be scuttled by UDF rebranding to ANC.
Two parties that form the Jubilee  are intent to dissolve their coalition and collapse their parties into a new single Jubilee Alliance Party by re-branding an affiliate the Conservative Party. This is ostensibly for the 2017 elections. But Kabatesi disputes the contention by senators Murkomen of Elgeyo Markwet and Kithuri Kindiki of Tharaka Nithii counties that Jap formation opens the door for more democracy under two prominent two parties like in the USA. He says post-independence history shows that political party hegemony breeds authoritarianism in Africa. 
“If you are unable to brew internal democracy in a small party, how do you do it in a monolith? Look at what is happening in ODM after it outgrew itself. It seems the hitherto Kanu virus of intolerance has killed ODM immunity to despotic tendencies. Furthermore, the Democratic and Republican parties in the USA did rise to prominence as a result of coerced collapsing parties by artificial fiat. It was a progression of ideological parity and clarity that differentiated them that contributed to their identity. The Democrats champion liberalism with distributive economic policies and state welfare. The Republicans pursue the apposite policies,” Kabatesi posed.
On the senators’ contention that parties affiliated to Jubilee will all fold to join Jubilee, Kabatesi says that is wishful thinking. “Decreeing a two- party system is putting the cart before the horse. Political parties in Kenya do not exhibit any ideological identity. The rise of the two parties in the USA did not result in absence of other parties. The Murkomen and Kindiki spin in mere bravado. More seriously, you cannot pay allegiance to the constitution that decrees Kenya is multiparty state and nurse ambitions of a two-party system. It betrays antipathy to democracy that sees multipartyism as an irritable inconvenience,” he adds.
Meanwhile, in their haste to market the Jap idea for their bosses, the senators are sending the wrong signals of locking the paddock before tethering the horses. They speak loudly that leadership of Jab is foreclosed for Uhuru and Ruto as running mates in 2017 therefore locking the stable from internal competition. This is a contradiction from the stated aim of promoting internal democracy. Sensing constricted political space, loud voices including Meru and Bomet governors Peter Munya of APK and Isaac Ruto of URP have vowed not to join JAP. 
“No politician with ambition to climb the ladder can join a party that is already closeted for individuals at the top and more so for the next 20 years of self-prophesy. Even with my eyes closed, I can’t risk that,” vowed an MP from Meru close to Kindiki while revealing the formation of the Devolution Party of Kenya as a fallback strategy.
Indeed, the two senators reek of double standards if information at the Registrar of Political Parties is accurate that Kindiki is the force behind the formation of yet-to-be registered Devolution Party of Kenya. There allegation gains credible attention given that Kindiki has been proposed as Ruto’s running mate in 2022. Credible sources within upper eastern region populated by the Meru, Tharaka, Embu and Mbere indicate that their leadership has sensed parting of ways in Jubilee with formation of Jap and maybe preparing to support Ruto in 2017 by providing a soft landing to Ruto in Kindiki and DPK.
This is why talk about time for “our Kikuyu cousins we have supported forever return a hand by picking a running mate from us” is rife within the region. This is compounded by recent lament by APL leader and Meru County Senator Kiraitu Murungi that Jubilee has ignored them despite providing majority votes. The DPL is said to be part of a wider scheme by URP to dismember TNA support bases just as it has tried to do in opposition Coast, Western and Nyanza regions. The plan is to up URP stakes when it comes to negotiations with TNA in 2017.
Kabatesi says the important thing now is what Jab portends for the post-election agreements that are still in force. He says two scenarios will arise should Jubilee coalition continue to legally exist, the agreements remain valid. But should the Jubilee coalition dissolve the agreements automatically and by default die.  Kabatesi does not see the second scenario happening soon;
“That is the legal reality. However, the political reality is that dissolution of Jubilee coalition will affect parties in post-election agreements. One expects by the time of legal dissolution, discussions will have been held to address the agreements. This might not be soon because it is in the interest of Jubilee to stretch and hold onto the agreements for as long as possible if it has to maintain the numbers in parliament.  Dissolution will come at the tail end current term of the president and parliament. If the Jubilee government has been resistant to a referendum, they cannot cause mid term elections by their own hand that would see their term cut short. Indeed, no MPs will support such interruption of their term because they have yet to stamp any authority on the electorate that will assure them of re-election”.